Getting ready for early season weaks and resident bass.

The Mets usually win their home opener, instilling a childish glimmer of hope. It’s a sort of welcome to the emotional roller coaster of 162 turns, curves, free falls, and gut jarring stops.  Today they were able to squeeze a month of heartache into a few extra innings.

striper bass

Last year, typical summer night bass fishing off Breezy Point, the true meaning of being a Mets fan came out loud and clear.  The guy with the radio offered to change from Get the Led Out night to the Mets game.  Guy two over from me says,

“Don’t do that, I’m enjoying myself. I’m out here because the game’s on.”

Not to turn this into a Mets rant but more times than not it’s individual breakdowns that catch on like wildfire.  First baseman’s not paying attention, pitchers get rattled, clutch hitters hit slumps.  Biggest reasons for these failures I’m always convinced is self doubt and being unprepared.

I’ve talked a decent amount on fishing from the beach, and while it can have a team dynamic, it’s a pretty solitary method.

Your regular fishing crew be it your boat or theirs, can fall victim to what’s known in the baseball world as “metsopainfulitis.”  The only thing more devastating than hopes and dreams of October baseball being crushed is getting on the early spring bite just to have equipment and common sense failures leaving you on the bench.

Early season scouting can be some of the most fun and exciting fishing of the year.  While scouting can make or break the start of the season, don’t just focus on the fish.  The boat may have come out of the water in great shape, but a long hard winter can leave her mark.  Chasing schoolies and weakfish in local back bays that warm up first is a perfect opportunity to give everything a once over before the real run and gun fishing starts.

One of the more effective lures for resident schoolies and the first of the herd to show up is the Cotton Cordell Red Fin sinking minnow.  The retrieve is a jerky one, with most of your hits coming on the pause, which lets it sink.  I prefer the 4 and 5-inch chrome with red belly.

cotton cordell red fin sinking minnow
Available at Lurenet $4.99

Small top water lures can also be the ticket at dawn and sunset. Keep it small though, some of the heavier bottle plugs are almost half the size of the fish you’re targeting!

Spring is the time to get jiggy with the sea trout.  Usually showing up prior to the stripers, back bays and marshy areas are prime target zones.  Hands down jig heads with soft plastics are the lure of choice. Berkley Gulp jigging grub has been one of the better plastics on the market.  Match the hatch as best you can when it comes to color choice.  As for jig heads, these can get personal.  Be it your homemade, locally made, or ordered online from one of the major retailers, everyone has their favorite. Make ‘em dance like a distressed minnow and you could be into gold real quick.

sea trout

We waited it through a long winter for fishing to start up.  Wishing everyone a safe and productive start to the season.  Don’t forget to be up to date on new limits and regs, as many have changed since last season. Get those first catch pics submitted to Fishidy’s Braggin’ Board for a chance to win weekly prizes!

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Mike Dean

As founder of Manhattan to Montauk, winner of the 2015 Manhattan Cup and Co-Founder of Save Our Stripers, Mike is a passionate saltwater angler in the waters of the East End of Long Island, the Western Long Island Sound, and the waters around Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Northern New Jersey Coast. In addition to Mike’s pieces for Fishidy, his contributions to On the Water Magazine and Redbone Journal share his passion not only for his fishing, but in protecting the resource as well. mnhtn2mtk.com

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